Nov 7 2011 12:00:00:000AM
Media Contact: Joe Salkowski, (520) 884-3625,
Financial Analyst Contact: Chris Norman, (520) 884-3649,

UniSource Energy Begins Moving Into New Corporate Headquarters Building

Tucson, Ariz. — Employees have begun moving into UniSource Energy's new headquarters, an energy-efficient building that will provide much-needed office space for more than 500 workers in the heart of downtown Tucson.

Seven employees of Tucson Electric Power (TEP), the principal subsidiary of UniSource Energy (NYSE: UNS), reported to work in the building for the first time on Nov. 3. They were joined today by another 85 employees who relocated from leased offices at 1 S. Church Ave. to the new building at 88 E. Broadway.

The building remains closed to visitors as construction crews are still working in the lobby and other areas. Their work is expected to be complete by Nov. 21, when the remaining 400-plus employees assigned to the new building report for their first day of work there.

"By bringing so many of our employees together in a space designed for our specific needs, UniSource Energy's new corporate headquarters will help us work more efficiently and effectively on behalf of our customers," said Paul Bonavia, Chairman, President and CEO of UniSource Energy and TEP.

The building will alleviate overcrowding at TEP's campus on East Irvington Road, where many employees have been working in trailers that separate them from other related workgroups. Employees and departments that frequently work together will now be located under the same roof — and often on the same floor — greatly reducing vehicle travel between the Irvington campus and downtown.

"This building represents a long-term investment in the efficiency of our operations," Bonavia said. "We're well into our second century of serving this community, and our new downtown headquarters will help us maintain the reliability and value of our service for many years to come."

The nine-story headquarters provides 232,000 square feet of interior space for employees who serve both TEP and sister company UniSource Energy Services, which provides natural gas and electric service in northern and southern Arizona. The building also features 11,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space that has not yet been leased.

"With new retail opportunities and space for more than 500 employees, UniSource Energy's corporate headquarters will provide a tremendous boost to the downtown economy," said Michael Keith, CEO of the Downtown Tucson Partnership. "UniSource Energy also is setting a standard for design and sustainable development that we hope other businesses locating downtown will follow."

The building incorporates a long list of environmentally responsible features, including:

  • Efficient Heating and Cooling. The building's HVAC system exceeds the baseline threshold for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification by more than 25 percent, operating at a level comparable to a 20-SEER residential system.
  • Natural Lighting. The building layout and interior office design maximize the use of natural daylight, which streams into every floor through low-e, high-performance glass windows.
  • Solar Power. The building will incorporate a solar water heating system and a 50-kilowatt photovoltaic array featuring the same low-profile, high-efficiency panels installed through the TEP Bright Roofs program. The program offers owners of large buildings an opportunity to lease unused roof space to TEP for the installation of grid-tied solar arrays.
  • Water Harvesting. An innovative system directs rainwater through a series of filters and into a 150,000-gallon cistern embedded beneath the building's main entrance, where it will be tapped to provide irrigation for on-site landscaping.
  • Water Conservation. Dual-flush toilets, low-flush urinals, sensor-equipped faucets and other features designed to reduce water usage by 33 percent.
  • Encouraging Lower Vehicle Emissions. The integrated garage offers electric vehicle chargers and preferred parking for low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles. The garage will reduce the need for employees to use their vehicles' air conditioners upon leaving the building, saving fuel and reducing emissions.
  • Recycled Construction Waste. The building's demolition and construction process resulted in the recycling of nearly 80 percent of waste materials. The vast majority of concrete, metal and paper-based waste were routed to separate bins and reprocessed for use in future projects.
  • Green Building Materials. Low-emitting paint, carpeting, tiles and other finish materials were used for better interior air quality. UniSource Energy also has committed to a "green" cleaning program that will employ only environmentally friendly products.

"UniSource Energy's corporate headquarters clearly reflects the values of a company committed to environmental leadership," said Todd Holzer, Vice President of Development for Ryan Companies, the building's developer. "This project sets a new, higher standard for energy efficient office construction in Tucson."

UniSource Energy's application for LEED Gold certification of its new headquarters is pending before the U.S. Green Building Council. The group typically waits several months after a building is occupied before issuing a certification.

"I'm just so pleased, impressed and encouraged by the level of leadership shown by TEP and UniSource Energy in committing to this level of sustainability," said Gina Murphy-Darling, host of "Mrs. Green's World Radio Network. "They're setting a fantastic example for our entire community."

The building was recognized last month with a Common Ground Award for Planning, Design and Construction from the Metropolitan Pima Alliance, a real estate and land use advocacy organization that promotes projects that encourage economic growth and environmental sustainability.

"Many of the best features of our new building grew almost organically from our own ‘green' energy programs," Bonavia said. "After years of helping our customers invest in energy-efficient, solar-powered homes, we're excited to be moving into one of our own."

Media tours of the new building will be available after a ribbon cutting ceremony scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 13. Details of that event will be made available in coming weeks.

UniSource Energy is a Tucson, Arizona-based company with consolidated assets of approximately $3.9 billion. UniSource Energy's primary subsidiaries include Tucson Electric Power, which serves more than 403,000 customers in southern Arizona, and UniSource Energy Services, provider of natural gas and electric service for about 237,000 customers in northern and southern Arizona. For more information, visit